Stages Of Hiv Infection
Stages of Infection
There are four stages of HIV and as with all illnesses, how it progresses, how long it takes and the affect it has on the individual depends on a number of factors for example, general health, lifestyle, diet etc.
Stage 1: Infection
HIV quickly replicates in the body after infection. Some people develop short lived flu-like symptoms for example, headaches, fever, sore throat and a rash within days to weeks after infection. During this time the immune system reacts to the virus by developing antibodies this is referred to as sero-conversion.
As the name suggests, this stage of HIV infection does not cause outward signs or symptoms. A person may look and feel well but HIV is continuing to weaken their immune system. This stage may last several years and without a HIV test many people do not know they are infected.
Over time the immune system becomes damaged and weakened by HIV and symptoms develop. Initially they can be mild but they do worsen, symptoms include fatigue, weight loss, mouth ulcers, thrush and severe diarrhoea. The symptoms are caused by the emergence of opportunistic infections they are referred to as opportunistic infections because they take advantage of a persons weakened immune system. Some examples of opportunistic infections are PCP, toxoplasmosis, TB and kaposi sarcoma.
Stage 4:AIDS/Progression of HIV to AIDS
What Happens At The Binding And Fusion Stage
HIV attaches to a T-helper cell. It then fuses to it and releases its genetic information into the cell.
The types of ARVs that stop this stage of the lifecycle are called fusion or entry inhibitor drugs. They stop HIV from entering the cell. Your healthcare provider will let you know if these are the right ARVs for you.
The First Stage Of Hiv: Acute Infection
Acute infection can occur through exposure to the bodily fluids of an infected person. Any behaviour that involves you being or becoming exposed to someone elses bodily fluids carries a risk of infection.
The most common methods of HIV transmission are unprotected sexual activity and the sharing of needles, especially by drug users. Additionally, HIV-positive pregnant women, women in labour and those breastfeeding their babies are also able to infect their children.
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Definition Of Exclusion Criteria
Blood donor eligibility is regulated by the Guidelines on the Collection of Blood and Blood Components and on Use of Blood Products . Criteria are defined for the permanent or temporary deferral from donation with respect to the transmission of HIV. Permanently deferred from donation are the following:
Persons with a confirmed HIV infection.
Persons with non-prescribed IV or IM drug use.
Persons whose sexual behaviour puts them at high risk of acquiring severe infectious diseases like HBV, HCV or HIV that can be transmitted by blood:
heterosexual persons with high-risk sexual behaviour, i.e. sexual contacts with multiple sex partners,
men who have sexual contacts with men
male and female sex workers.
Temporary deferral from donating blood is valid for persons:
who entered Germany from a country or a region, where they had been continuously resident for more than 6 months, with a comparatively high prevalence of HBV, HCV, HIV or HTLV-1/-2 infections,
who had sexual contacts with persons belonging to a group with an enhanced risk of infection with HBV, HCV, HIV and/or HTLV-1/-2 ,
with tattoos or body piercing.
The Quest For Understanding Of Hiv
Since the discovery of HIV and its link to AIDS, great strides have been made in understanding its biology and in developing effective treatments. The difficulty in dealing with HIV on a global scale is largely due to the fact that HIV infection is far more common in resource-poor countries.
In the developed world, antiretroviral therapy has greatly improved prognosis and increased survival rates. Public education programs have raised awareness such that testing and prevention of infection are more common. Both of these approaches are difficult in countries with undereducated or underfunded populations.
A thorough discussion of the history of AIDS and the biologic link between HIV and AIDS can be found in an article entitled ” The relationship between the human immunodeficiency virus and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome ” at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. The document was originally written in September 1995, before the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy , which has significantly improved AIDS-free survival in persons infected with HIV. This version was updated March 2010.
HIV-related health information is typically considered separate from other health information and may require separate consent to share or divulge.
Health care workers who are infected with HIV may be required to divulge their status to their employer or patients and may be restricted in the types of procedures they can perform.
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Barriers To Hiv Prevention
Some people living with HIV or at risk for HIV may have less access to preventive care, testing and treatment regimens. They may also live in an environment that makes it difficult to talk about HIV infection. Specific factors include:
- Lack of financial resources
- Lack of convenient, affordable health care
- Fear of violent reactions from partners, particularly for those abusive relationships
- Less access to transportation
- Homelessness, making it difficult to stick with treatment regimens, store medications and eat consistently healthy meals
- Lack of emotional or physical support
- Added responsibility of caring for others, especially children, that can make it difficult to care for themselves and take their medicines
- Fear of telling their family about their HIV
Fortunately, there are resources available for people who are diagnosed with HIV to help them overcome many of these challenges.
What Are The Types Of Hiv Tests
There are three types of human immunodeficiency virus tests used to diagnose HIV infections, which are
- Antibody tests: These tests check for HIV antibodies in the blood or oral fluid.
- Antigen/antibody tests: These help to detect both HIV antibodies and antigens in the blood.
- Nucleic acid tests: These look for HIV in the blood.
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How Hiv Infects The Body
HIV is a virus that can cause an HIV infection if it gets into our blood stream.
It then goes on to infect our immune system â the part of our body that keeps you healthy.
It does this by entering T-helper cells so that our immune system canât find and destroy it. Then it makes copies of itself so it can go on to infect other cells.
This is called the HIV lifecycle and it is how the virus multiplies in our body.
Taking antiretroviral drugs is the only way to interrupt the HIV lifecycle and stay healthy.
How Long Does It Take For Hiv To Develop Into Aids
The time of seroconversion to AIDS, and eventually death, varies from one person to another. Its influenced by important things like getting tested, adhering to HIV treatment and practicing safe lifestyle choices. There is, however, a pattern that has been observed among people living with HIV, in terms of the time it takes to develop AIDS:
- Rapid progressors take 1-3 years.*
- Average progressors take 8-10 years.*
- Slow progressors take 15 years.
*These figures have been taken from the NCBI and are understood to reflect a progressive timeline for HIV-positive people who do not take ARVs.
There is a small group of people who are classified as non-progressors. The slow progression of these individuals is thought to be as a result of genetically inherited factors.
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Third Stage: Aids Symptoms
AIDS is the advanced stage of HIV infection. This is usually when your CD4 T-cell number drops below 200 and your immune system is badly damaged. You might get an opportunistic infection, an illness that happens more often and is worse in people who have weakened immune systems. Some of these, such as Kaposiâs sarcoma and pneumocystis pneumonia , are also considered Ã¢AIDS-defining illnesses.Ã¢
If you didnât know earlier that you were infected with HIV, you may realize it after you have some of these symptoms:
- Being tired all the time
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck or groin
- Fever that lasts more than 10 days
How Does Hiv Spread Throughout The Body
HIV cannot reproduce on its own, so it must get into these cells so that it can copy itself.
First, the virus attaches itself to a T-helper cell and fuses with it . It then takes control of the cellâs DNA, makes copies of itself inside the cell, and finally releases more HIV into the blood.
HIV will continue to multiply and spread throughout the body. This is a process called theâ¯HIV lifecycle.
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What Is The Treatment For Hiv
The treatment for human immunodeficiency virus involves a combination of medications known as antiretroviral therapy . ART cannot cure HIV however, it can increase the survival rate of patients.
ART halts the multiplication of the virus and reduces the amount of virus in the body to help the patient stay healthier.
Once the treatment has been started, the patient must remain compliant with the dosage for the medicines to be effective. Noncompliance can result in developing resistance to the medicines.
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Stage : Symptomatic Hiv Disease
Eventually the HIV infection weakens the immune system to the point that it progresses to the HIV disease. Infected people may begin to experience mild symptoms, even though their CD4 cell count is not yet low enough to warrant an AIDS diagnosis. The time it takes for the infection to become a disease differs for each person, but it generally ranges from five to seven years. Characteristic symptoms may include:
- Fungal skin and nail infections
Symptoms usually begin to show after the virus has begun to seriously damage the immune system. To avoid this damage, it is best to start antiretroviral therapy as early as possible.
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Howcan I Test For Hiv
It is entirely yourchoice whether you test for HIV on its own, or as part of a screen in combination with othersexually transmitted infections . Testing for several STIs provides amore complete view of your current sexual health.
Better2Know providesvarious HIV tests which can be taken at different times, depending on how longhas passed after your last incident of concern.
Our HIV testingoptions include:
- 28-Day HIV DUO Test this test is extremelyaccurate at 28 days and is recommended by the UKs HIV testing guidelines.
- 28-Day 5th Generation HIVTest thisadvanced test distinguishes between the three markers of HIV and will tell you which you have tested positive for.
- 10-Day HIV RNA PCR Test this test can be taken 10days after an incident of concern, providing the earliest possible indicationof an HIV infection.
- Instant HIV Test available at 26 days, thistest will provide results within 20 minutes at your appointment.
You may decide to testfor HIV as part of a Better2Know screen, in combination with other STIs.Testing for several infections, our screens are designed to provide total peaceof mind surrounding your sexual health.
Our HIV screeningoptions include:
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Who Should Get Tested For Hiv
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 13 to 64 years old get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. As a general rule, people at higher risk for HIV should get tested each year. Sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from getting tested more often, such as every 3 to 6 months.
Factors that increase the risk of HIV include:
- Injecting drugs and sharing needles, syringes, or other drug equipment with others
- Exchanging sex for money or drugs
- Having hepatitis or tuberculosis
- Having sex with anyone who has any of the HIV risk factors listed above
Talk to your health care provider about your risk for HIV and how often you should get tested for HIV.
Rates Of Hiv Disease Progression
The rate of HIV progression depends on immune function and genetics. There are two main categories of progressors:
- Rapid progressors: HIV rapidly progresses to AIDS, taking only a few years versus the standard ten.
- Long-term nonprogressors: the infected person shows no symptoms of HIV, and progression to AIDS can take over 12 years.
Aids Is The Final Stage
Controlling HIV with medications is crucial to both maintaining quality of life and helping prevent progression of the disease. Stage 3 HIV, also known as AIDS, develops when HIV has significantly weakened the immune system.
According to the CDC National Prevention Information Network, CD4 levels give one indication that HIV has progressed to its final stage. CD4 levels decreasing below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood is considered a sign of AIDS. A normal range is considered 500 to 1,600 cells/mm3.
AIDS can be diagnosed with a blood test to measure CD4. Sometimes its also determined simply by a persons overall health. In particular, an infection thats rare in people who dont have HIV may indicate AIDS. Symptoms of AIDS include:
- persistent high fevers of over 100Â°F
AIDS is the final stage of HIV. According to AIDSinfo, it takes at least 10 years without treatment for most people with HIV to develop AIDS.
At that point, the body is susceptible to a wide range of infections and cant effectively fight them off. Medical intervention is necessary to treat AIDS-related illnesses or complications that can otherwise be fatal. Without treatments, the CDC estimates the average survival rate to be three years once AIDS is diagnosed. Depending on the severity of their condition, a persons outlook may be significantly shorter.
Phases Of Hiv Infection
Clinical HIV infection undergoes 3 distinct phases: acute seroconversion, asymptomatic infection, and AIDS. Each is discussed below.
Animal models show that Langerhans cells are the first cellular targets of HIV, which fuse with CD4+ lymphocytes and spread into deeper tissues. In humans, rapid occurrence of plasma viremia with widespread dissemination of the virus is observed 4 days to 11 days after mucosal entrance of the virus.
There is no fixed site of integration, but the virus tends to integrate in areas of active transcription, probably because these areas have more open chromatin and more easily accessible DNA. This greatly complicates eradication of the virus by the host, as latent proviral genomes can persist without being detected by the immune system and cannot be targeted by antivirals.
During this phase, the infection is established and a proviral reservoir is created. This reservoir consists of persistently infected cells, typically macrophages, and appears to steadily release virus. Some of the viral release replenishes the reservoir, and some goes on to produce more active infection.
The proviral reservoir, as measured by DNA polymerase chain reaction , seems to be incredibly stable. Although it does decline with aggressive antiviral therapy, the half-life is such that eradication is not a viable expectation.
Asymptomatic HIV infection
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Contact Us For Help With Managing Your Hiv In Denton And Collin Counties
While an HIV diagnosis can be worrisome, it does not mean your condition will advance to AIDS. You can safely live with HIV for years with the right treatments and therapies.
You can request our support at Health Services of North Texas in Wylie, Denton, or Plano, TX if you require assistance managing HIV. You can contact us for a confidential review of your situation. You may qualify for free testing and support and coverage through Ryan White Services. We will also ensure your general safety and privacy during this tough and sensitive time in your life.
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The Four Stages Of Hiv Explained
Although there is no cure for HIV, early detection and effective treatment can enable a person with HIV to lead a normal life. However, if HIV is left untreated, it can advance through four serious stages. Therefore, it is important to get tested for HIV if you are concerned that you may have been at risk.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus attacks a persons immunesystem, impacting their ability to fight diseases and infections. Therefore, withouttreatment, HIV can be life-threatening. The early signs and symptoms of HIV vary from person-to-personand can easily be mistaken for other illnesses. Testing for HIV regularly helpsto minimise the long-term health consequences that HIV can have.
If left untreated,HIV usually progresses through four stages. With access to treatment, mostpeople with HIV will remain healthy and will never experience the late stage.This does depend on how early HIV was detected and how well a person respondsto treatment, amongst other lifestyle factors.
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